I was saddened to learn of the passing of Prof George Maxwell Richards, former Principal and Vice Chancellor of the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies and later President of the twin island Republic of Trinidad & Tobago.
I had the good fortune of knowing him personally while in my capacity as Director of Library and Information Services on the St Augustine Campus for almost ten years. I interacted with him as the Principal Administrator of the Campus and I found him to be deeply committed to principles and operations of the highest standards. One of his notable characteristics was the fact that his erudition was never a barrier to him communicating with a cross section of those who served the university. He was approachable, a keen listener and noted for his great strength of character. I clearly recall him chairing Academic Board Meetings where the cut and thrust of debate at times degenerated into hostility, and he was able to skilfully restore the situation to an acceptable level of normalcy.
It was evident that his interest was not restricted to academics solely. He fully embraced the culture of his country and was comfortable with Carnival activities with an appreciation for the artistry of the Calypsonians.
He has bequeathed to the Campus community of St Augustine a rich legacy of true professionalism and nationalism. He was a great Caribbean Man. It was no surprise therefore to those who knew him, when he acceded to the high office of President of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. May His Soul Rest In Peace